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Attractions of Rio de Janeiro

Added: August 01, 2010

Tags: Brazil RTW beach city mountains palm photos
Flight to Rio de Janeiro was uneventful and rather quick. We flew around Rio and landed at Galeão airport ahead of schedule. It seemed we will get to city during daylight, but it turned to be wrong assumption. We were waiting for a bus to Botafogo more than one hour. Some buses arrived but all of them were heading to different parts or Rio.

When our bus finally arrived it was full. A driver did not want to take us, but the "bus employee" at the bus stop helped us to get in. He was probably tired of my periodic bothering him When is our bus due? Driver finally said he will take us if we don't mind standing 50min. No problem for us, just get us there.

It was dark when we stepped off the bus. Now to get oriented quickly and find our hostel. We selected Botafogo because it was cheaper than Copacabana and Ipanema and still rather close and safe. Our next task is to blend in and look like a Brazilians to avoid being robbed. At least that is suggested in all descriptions of Rio de Janeiro. Plus walking quickly so lazy muggers don't bother. This part should be easy, but how can we blend in with 2 backpacks each? :-)

First impressions of Rio de Janeiro

It is easier to get oriented if you are close to beach. City is at one side, sea at other. Just decide if bus stopped before or after your accommodation. It seemed, in our case, it stopped sooner and we needed to walk for longer than we expected to see the first reference point - Praia Shopping Center. It should be easy from now.

We found the correct street and turned to the right. It should be somewhere here. But it was not easy to spot. It is not marked as hostel for security reasons. Thanks to good description on web page we were not confused for long time. But it would be hard to guess Ace Backpackers is here without being warned.

They were collecting big black plastic bags with rubbish when we came in. Carnival ended yesterday and they were finishing clean up. Really? I thought it ended at least week ago, maybe we would plan something differently knowing when it really ends...

But they did not have our room available. I would blame carnival, but owner told us hostelbookers did not notify them. She called "director of hostelbookers", but no answer. If I only could to believe that. So they gave us smelly dormitory instead of private room. For security reasons we preferred private rooms in South America, but this dormitory was empty. They will move us tomorrow.

Apart from this incident I can say the staff was very nice and helpful. Our private room was much better than dorm.

To the Pão de Açúcar

Our first attraction next morning were to famous Sugarloaf Mountain. I don't have any serious photo of it, because for security reasons I had my camera in the backpack every time we were not in tourist area (in area I could see it is full of tourists). Why to advertise expensive goods I don't want to get rid of?

We were walking there, because it was not far and public transport seemed to be rather confusing in Rio de Janeiro. It was morning and already pretty hot. When we returned afternoon I could see a thermometer suggesting it was 42°C!

Sugarloaf Mountain

You can get to top of Sugarloaf with cable car. It is going to Urca mountain and then the 2nd one to top of Sugarloaf. The return ticket for both legs was 44 Reals.

Long queue did not last for long time, because the cabin is quite big. It was full, so I could not move around to take photos of surroundings, but we went for strategic front window.




Panorama of Rio de Janeiro from Urca mountain. It shows Babilônia mountain on the left, then Botafogo area. Finally in the distance on the right is Corcovado with Christ the Redeemer.
Panorama of Rio De Janeiro with Botafogo

Corcovado, Botafogo and Botafogo Beach.
Panorama of Rio De Janeiro with Botafogo

I was mesmerized by constantly landing planes on nearby Aeropuerto Santos Dumont. It did not take me long time to decide I do not want to be in the plane landing there in such risky manoeuvre (in my point of view). Following photos will show you what I mean.

It rushing directly at us!


Will they make it?


After looking around, taking several photos of city and the Sugarloaf we went for the 2nd cable car.

It was full again, but standing at front windows allows you to take pretty good photos. I have to remember to stand at other side when going down.

Cable car to Sugarloaf

Cable car to Sugarloaf with terminal

Sugarloaf from cable car.

Pão de Açúcar

Pão de Açúcar provides very nice view of Rio de Janeiro. Beaches, mountains, the city. If only the visibility was bit better. And I would welcome colder weather too.

We've spent some time up there, then returned to previous mountain and spent more time there too. Finally it was time to get back. We checked the nearby beach, but decided against staying there with cameras and everything. We will come to beach later without expensive things.

Copacabana beach. We will go there later.

Zooming to Corcovado.

Panorama of Rio de Janeiro showing beaches Urca, Copacabana, Botafogo.
Panorama of Rio De Janeiro with Copacabana

Niterói Contemporary Art Museum

It was time to satisfy Zuzka's craving for beautiful architecture. There is no better place for that than Contemporary Art Museum in the city of Niterói, Rio de Janeiro. You can get there through long bridge or by ferry. We decided for ferry.

There is a metro going from Botafogo to Carioca and it is possible to walk from there to quay.

Unbelievable amount of people were waiting for a ferry. Fortunately the ferry was big and nearly all passengers were sitting. Certainly it did not feel overcrowded as I thought so.

After landing we could not find the bus stop. We knew we are looking for bus 47B, but when your Portuguese vocabulary consists from word obrigado then you don't have a luxury of asking anybody. Eventually we found somebody who told us, but we needed to wait for long time. Several buses 47 arrived, but no 47B. I was already tired from hot weather when it finally arrived. A bus driver knew immediately where we are going and said he will tell us when to get off. But it was not necessary, the museum was visible from distance.

Niterói Contemporary Art Museum

Niterói Contemporary Art Museum

Niterói Contemporary Art Museum

The main building is sitting in small pool.


I have noticed the angle of wall was similar to the angle of Sugarloaf in the distance. And I was right. Coincidence? I think not.

Setting sun makes it even nicer.
Sunset at Niterói Contemporary Art Museum

Exhibition in the museum was pretty boring compared to architecture of building, but it was very good place to rest and cool down so we were not in hurry to leave. Plus we knew sun was rather low and I wanted to wait till sun set to get better photos.

The bus came quite quickly this time, but as we learned it was circular route so it took much longer to get back to quay.

Sun was low and hidden behind clouds, but I made a mistake and did not take the photo when I liked it a lot. We were outside of terminal, but if I wanted to avoid obstructions I would need to go quite close to group of local loiterers. I did not want to risk my camera by doing so. I thought I will take good photo from terminal building, but I could not get to open space there due to heavy gate. It opened only after ferry arrived, so I just took couple of quick snapshots fighting against flow of people rushing from and to the ferry. And it was too late, main light show was over.

Whole day passed quicker than we expected. It was late to go to the beach, because it is not safe to be at beaches at night. Hopefully tomorrow.